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The Passion and Death of Our Lord Jesus Christ


by Rev Alban Goodier SJ (Author), Brother Hermenegild TOSF (Author)

4 in stock


The details of the Passion, the material surroundings and circumstances, are accepted from others, though tested, most of them, on the spot; in regard to those details the author would only say that it is strange how great at times is the divergence of opinion amongst scholars, even on matters about which it would seem at first sight that agreement should be easily reached. It would almost appear that once we depart from, or attempt to add to, the story of the Passion as it is told by the Evangelists, we are liable to say what is open to question. Though, for instance, we may know the main streets in the Jerusalem of that time, yet the actual sites of the palaces of Annas, of Caiphas, of Herod, and of late even of Pilate, are by no means agreed upon, while the scourging, the crowning, the crucifixion, have been given different descriptions, founded all on some substantial evidence. Frankly, therefore, the author has taken all these studies as secondary. He has used them as he has needed them, for the Passion cannot be described without them; but for the first source of his information he has relied on the four Gospels themselves. As in the study of the Public Life, so here he has tried to keep his attention fixed on Jesus Christ Our Lord, for whose sake alone the story of the Passion is worth telling, refusing, so far as he has been able, to be turned aside by any controversial question or discussion whatsoever. He has asked himself: How does the Passion reveal Christ to us? What manner of Man does He show Himself during that ordeal? What were His thoughts and feelings? What was His soul? And, hence, knowing that He is ‘yesterday, and to-day, and the same for ever’, what is the meaning of Jesus crucified to me here and now? We derive far more light for our purpose from the saints, and from those who have written in the spirit of the saints, such as S. Augustine, Ludolph of Saxony, Fra Thomas of Jesus, and in another sense, S. Catherine of Siena. Love, real and objective, and the insight and interpretation that come of love, are the only key to the Passion, certainly far more than learning; for love alone opens our eyes that we may know Him who endured it and why, whatever we may know or not know about Him. The method, therefore, of this study has been to follow the Evangelists as closely as possible, reading between the lines of their narrative; the harmony used has been that of Tischendorf, with but a few minor variations. The streets of Jerusalem were very narrow indeed, some of them scarcely admitting men to walk six abreast; when a camel lurched down them with his load on his back there was little room for anyone else. Though undoubtedly a crowd followed the Passion, which grew in numbers as the day went on, yet no less certainly there were other crowds which stood aloof. There was at least one crowd of sympathisers, which S. Luke equally describes as ‘a great multitude of people’ that ‘followed Him’; there were many more who looked on from their doors and windows, or squatting on their shop counters, with that indifference which only the East can show. If the procession from the Pretorium to Calvary, as seems not unlikely, passed through the bazaar of the city, probably business went on as usual; for crowds such as these were nothing very strange, and the day, the eve of the great Feast, was an exceptionally busy day in Jerusalem. We are tempted to compare the suddenness of the Passion, and the success of its leaders, to one of those sinister coups d’etat which have captured nations, and of which we have had examples in plenty in our own time. All this we may assume and lay aside: our main object is to study Him round whom the story is gathered, that, if we can, we may know Him the better, whatever may be our other mistakes and shortcomings.